Friday, July 11, 2008

Getting Starcraft working on OSX

I've started playing Starcraft again after ages away, but I found that my brand spanking new MacBook Pro wouldn't work!

The new versions of OSX have an updated video driver which does not support 256 colour modes. This means that Starcraft, Diablo II, or basically any older game will no longer work. Not good when the applications were still sold by Apple as OSX compatible games (they've since been removed).

I have now figured out a simple (albeit more expensive - US$79.99 + Windows license) way to solve the problem. I decided to run the game under VMWare Fusion.

However there were two problems with this. First, when running in full screen mode, the display doesn't stretch to fill the screen. So on my laptop, I end up with a postage stamp display right in the middle of the screen. Second, the mouse is not restricted to that little postage stamp, it moves freely all the way around the display. When attempting to scroll the display in the game, you move the mouse to the edge, since the mouse will leave the bounds, the game doesn't scroll very well.

The first was fixed with a quick google.

In the file "Preferences/VMWare Fusion/preferences" add

    pref.autoFitFullScreen = "fitHostToGuest"

This will stretch the display. If you have a widescreen display, you will still have black bars on the left and the right, but we're making progress.

Now to mouse capture. There doesn't appear to be an option to prevent the mouse from being taken back by the host OS, so I took a more drastic approach. I uninstalled VMWare Tools. This requires a reboot of the VM, but when you are done, you will no longer be able to move the mouse outside of the VM!

To get back to the host OS, press CTRL-CMD. To re-install VMWare Toole, select "Install VMWare Tools" under "Virtual Machine"

You should now be able to play Diablo II and Starcraft in all their 256 colour beauty.

Now, if I can only control my nerves enough to work my trackball....

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